Marketing For Your Emergency Animal Clinic
Emergency veterinary medicine can be tricky to market. Gone are the days that you plunk an ad in the Yellow Pages and hope when a pet emergency happens pet parents will thumb through and land on yours. Clients used to rely on the nearest hospital for care, but they no longer select an emergency clinic based solely on location; a facility’s quality of care, wait times and clinical expertise also factor into the decision.
Word of mouth was also a huge part of any veterinary marketing strategy. Word of mouth absolutely still is one of the best ways to market your clinic, but there are new, more effective ways to spread word of mouth referrals. And there are more ways than ever to increase client loyalty through personalized marketing and communication campaigns.
Some emergency clinics shy away from advertising and marketing out of concern it will hurt relationships with the referral community. Developing concise communication and transfer policies with your referral veterinarians, that you never stray from, will only enhance the service you offer. Marketing your own business must be an integral part of your practice.
Social Media Marketing Strategy
Start to tell your patient stories to build engagement. People turn to social media to be entertained, educated, and be social. If your emergency clinic wants to truly engage, educate, and earn the trust of potential clients, your emergency clinic’s social media presence has to have just that: a presence. With a distinct voice and your own personality shining through, your clinic will be more relatable and followers will be more likely to call on your help in a pet emergency. Be your authentic, passionate, amazing pet loving selves!
Ask for prayers, shares, and positive thoughts when pets come in critical, and share their journey to recovery.
Use patient cases as teachable moments that other pet parents can learn from.
Share a day in the life of a Veterinarian, Veterinary Technician, Veterinary Assistant, Veterinary Receptionist. Let your potential clients see the caring that goes into saving pet lives.
Offer Free In Clinic Courses
Education is a key to engagement and loyalty. Be it a First Aid Course, Understanding Fear Free Care for Pet Parents, How to Care for your Puppy/Kitten; getting people in the door and seeing your facility and meeting the staff that would be caring for their pets in an emergency is a great step in building client loyalty.
Build a Referral Network
Getting along isn’t always easy in the Veterinary world, but building trust and relationships with the Dvm’s in your city is a helpful way to market your emergency clinic.
But, understand that building a referral network is not a 1-2-3 step process to follow.
Because existing referral arrangements are difficult to break, it requires a significant amount of time to see returns. Just keep in mind that like any other relationship in life, it has peaks and valleys. Any referral arrangement between the veterinarian you want to win over and a competing emergency clinic will have moments of tension or dissatisfaction from time to time, so your consistency and continuous presence with the right offer and solution in front of the Dvm you want to attract, will allow you eventually to be the referral clinic of choice.
Referral-building should be tasked to a team member that has a lot of perseverance, astounding correspondence, the ability to follow up continuously, and a great communicator. With the right person in place and with the right abilities and character attributes for the assignment your general practice veterinarians will be referring you in no time.
One marketing adage that hasn’t been replaced by the online movement is “leave something behind.” Don’t overlook branding opportunities. For a few hundred dollars, a clinic can personalize hundreds of products to spread your emergency care message.
Long after the emergency visit, clients keep and use low-cost products such as food scoops, pet pill boxes, pet bandanas, reusable totes, collapsible water bowls and many more available items. These tools provide a constant reminder that your emergency clinic is just around the corner if your pet needs emergency care. A go-to favourite company I’ve used for my clients is wilson & wilson in Kitchener, Ontario.
Get An App
Everyone uses at least one app and having a personal app is quite inexpensive and easy, and puts you at pet parents fingertips in case of an emergency. We like The Vet App. Not only does it give app users easy access to your clinic, it also has all sorts of fun and informative custom options that will keep potential emergency clients engaged with you so you become top of mind in a crisis.
Hopefully, you are not the type of organization that thinks you can simply implement a few slick emergency clinic strategies, and clients will come. It takes time to build the trust of pet parents and the Dvm referral community, and with the veterinary world being an incredibly competitive one, there are many choices out there for emergency care. But if you continue to grow your marketing strategies (and there’s a plethora to choose from); offer incredible veterinary care, remain ethical within your industry, and be compassionate during treatment of emergency care, you’ll soon see your client base grow.
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